It was a crisp January Sunday morning in 2012. I was sitting in church with my Bible in my lap, dressed in my Sunday best, listening intently to the sermon. Well, at least it seemed that I was listening intently. I had grown up in church so I was well acquainted with what a Christian was expected to look like, and I knew how to adhere to that facade without it necessarily being real.
Oh, wait, the preacher is asking us something. Focus back on him.
Why can’t you make this year the best year you’ve ever had for the Lord?
He’s challenging us to be intentional in our spiritual growth this year.
And I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit to my heart...Aren’t you fed up with being a mediocre Christian? God gave His Son to ransom your wretched heart. Isn’t He worthy of more?
Yes, He certainly is.
When I committed to be intentional with my walk with the Lord, and in faith believed that I would indeed see the best year I’ve ever had with the Lord, I had no idea how God would accomplish that in me.
I expected it to look like finally getting an answer to my prayer to have children...maybe even twins.
God had different plans for that year, and if I’m honest, I did not like His methods.
That was the year my marriage fell apart. Even after I found out my husband was having an affair, all I prayed for was reconciliation. I couldn’t bear the thought of life without him. After four failed attempts at reconciliation, after getting my hopes up time and time again, the divorce papers came. There’s a verse in Psalms that talks about God putting our tears into a bottle. I’m pretty sure He had to upgrade to buckets or a large vat of some kind for me at that time in my life.
So why am I telling you all this?
Wendy’s blog post last week talked about resolutions and imitating Christ as a focus in 2019. When I read that post, I hadn’t made any new year’s resolutions, and I was actually floundering on what to even do, or if I should even make one. Part of me doesn’t like resolutions. Maybe because I want to give myself room to fail. Maybe it’s just the term resolution. Everyone throws it around this time of year, but who follows up in June and asks how your resolutions are panning out? I know it’s semantics … but I’m going to just call mine a deliberate focus, not a resolution. *Shrug* I know, I’m a rebel.
Okay. So, now I’ve decided to be on board with making my focus imitating Christ. What now? That sounds like a huge undertaking. The blog post gives some very good areas to imitate Christ in a practical way, and I want to remind us all that none of this is in our own power.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phillippians 1:6
That’s good news! He began the work and He’ll continue it! And let me assure you that He is more than powerful enough to do it. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
There is Power in His Name.
What kind of power does your name have? You can sign things and to some degree that means something. But in all sincerity … what does your signature really look like when you’re at the grocery store with multiple children and it’s past nap time? Probably not your best penmanship ever. Most of the time, I doubt anyone could identify my actual name in my signature at all.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11
At His name...EVERY knee will bow and tongue confess to the glory of God the Father. His NAME has that much power. His name is above every name. EVERY name.
It’s interesting to me that it doesn’t say at His being, or at His presence, or at His body, or His arm, or His head, or even a single eyeball or eyelash or cell. His name carries this infinite power. This power to humble the proud to its knees. The same name can work in your situation too. At the name of Jesus every marriage can be healed. At the name of Jesus every wayward child can be restored. At the name of Jesus every sickness can heal. At the name of Jesus every broken heart can be bound. At the name of Jesus every barren womb can conceive. At the name of Jesus every sad heart can rejoice. At the name of Jesus every prayer is answered. At the name of Jesus He will accomplish the work of imitating Himself through you.
Did 2012 turn out to be my best year for the Lord up to that point? Yes it 100% did. I saw God work in me in ways that seemed impossible. I clung to the Lord like I never had before. I saw Him in His word anew and fresh, and I smelled His fragrance when I was in the deepest parts of that trial. I’m glad I didn’t know beforehand how God intended to work in me that year, but I would never trade it for all the world.
He was good, and He is good, and He will continue to be good.
Can I encourage you to make a resolution this year? Of course I can, you can’t actually answer me back … I have all the power here! So I do encourage you to resolve to be purposeful in cultivating something specific in your walk with God this year. And if you haven’t decided on what to cultivate yet, join us in imitating Jesus! Jump on in, the water’s fine. Or just dip your toe in….Join the re:flect-i community in imitating Jesus by memorizing Scripture. We will be posting Scripture at the end of the blog posts following the four areas of imitating Jesus set forth in last week’s blog post. Let 2019 be a memorable year for your growth!
Love, April Cline